I automatically have a deep mistrust, resentment and loathing of any football fans that bestow upon themselves the title of “Best Fans In The World™.” Not only does this statement indicate a willing and almost purposeful ignorance of the abundance of other incredibly passionate, committed and supportive fans of other football clubs from all around the world who may be worthy of such a title, it also seems to surmise in most cases that being the “loudest” fans translates into being the “best” fans.
Think of Newcastle fans, one such group of self-proclaimed “greatest” fans. They seem to define being a great fan as protesting outside the club at 11am on a Tuesday morning when everyone else it at work, because the local post-box hasn’t been proclaimed as an accurate, 1:1 scale representation of Kevin Keegan’s phallic endowment, or something to that effect. Had it not been for the astringent criticism and heckling of one Sam Allardyce in the form of protests and the like by the Newcastle fans back in the 07/08 season, Allardyce would probably have still been in a job come the end of the season and, based on what most experts and pundits believe, they would have most likely not been relegated that season. However, the fans believed that their “passion” justified their deluded, myopic beliefs, and that their actions only went on to enhance the credibility of the claim that Newcastle fans are the “best in the world.” Well, it now appears that Liverpool fans are in on the act as well.
Now I’m not making a direct comparison between the current Roy Hodson situation at Liverpool and the Sam Allardyce saga from Newcastle a few years ago here, there is one vital difference in that, on the whole, Hodgson has done a poor job at Liverpool and needs to be replaced by the summer at the very latest. However, I can’t help but feel that Liverpool fans have contributed significantly to their struggles this season and the massive fall from grace of Mr Hodgson, the way they’ve acted has resulted in what can only be described as a self-fulfilled prophecy. By having got on the back of Hodgson so early and by having set such high standards for him based on their blinkered vision of the standing and current ability of their own club, they’ve never really given Hodgson the chance to operate in a more constructive and productive pressure-free environment that would have been more beneficial for all parties involved.
But why did the Liverpool fans get on Roy’s back so early and essentially fan the flames of the fire that has all but burned to the ground what remained of their clubs traditions and dignity? Well it’s obvious; it’s because the Liverpool fans, just like Newcastle fans, have a massive messiah complex, and Roy Hodgson has the unfortunate disadvantage of not being Rafael Benitez (the flaws of whom I have delved into previously, link here)
Now before my face succumbs to a pugilistic rage of scouse fury, let me point out that Liverpool fans have also expressed similar sentiments to those above, and not just any Liverpool fans, some of the more educated of the predominantly deluded scouse rabble (link here)
“Am I the only person who is starting to think that Liverpool are slowly becoming a poor imitation of Newcastle United?
Hear me out:
- A club overly-romantic about past glory.
- Fanatical supporters who believe they’re entitled to success.
- A succession of beleaguered managers that have failed to win the title.
- Fandom overriding rational logic.
- Disgruntled players who see their future elsewhere.
- A belief that a messiah in the form of an ex-player/manager will come and save the day.
You see, not such a far-fetched comparison is it? Some similarities are uncanny. The only thing missing is a fat, meddling, buffoon from London! Hold on, isn’t Roy Hodgson from Croydon? (ok, that was a little harsh).
As a Liverpool fan I’ve been perturbed and a little surprised about all the column inches Liverpool FC have been consuming over the last few days. There seems to be genuine hysteria emanating from the club.
It was embarrassing to hear cries of “Hodgson for England” and “Dalglish” from the fans during the recent home defeat to Wolves. Alright yes, Roy Hodgson hasn’t done a good job as Liverpool manager. Actually in truth, he hasn’t even done an average one but the level of hostility towards the man is becoming unacceptable.
Every interview he has conducted has been brutally assassinated and taken out of context. Even something as banal as Hodgson rubbing his face is now up for discussion on the LFC internet forums. Ex-players who in the summer were praising his appointment have now trickled out of the woodwork to publicly damn him
Liverpool fans are supposed to be the most knowledge football fans around (truly a self-proclaimed notion). Therefore, can they not see that the club as a whole is going through a rebuilding process and need some patience? A magic wand will not be waved and everything will be rosy again. No plaster or band-aid can cover over the mistakes made in the last 18 months.”
Patrick Barclay of The Times has also made similar accusations of the Liverpool faithful:
“Poor though the team were [against Wolves], however, nothing insulted the club’s traditions more than the chant aimed at their manager, whom the FA has considered as a potential successor to Fabio Capello. “Hodgson for England” yelled sections of a support once regarded as fundamental to the fortress-like character of Anfield. Today, when Bolton Wanderers come, the same people will belt out You’ll Never Walk Alone without a whit of irony.
Anfield will always be a great place to watch football. But it has been belittled in the eyes of the wider game. The neutrals privileged to be there in May 2005 will always remember the winter when Anfield went flaky, not only pointing Hodgson to the door but holding it open – let’s not forget this either – to Kenny Dalglish.
My impression is that, although disgruntled Liverpool fans have a huge variety of alternatives o Hodgson in mind, most want Dalglish in at least temporary charge (the more delusional imagine that Pep Guardiola or some such luminary will beat a path to Anfield at the end of the season).
Some want Rafael Benitez – free after his dismissal by Inter Milan and still regarded by many as the club’s best manager since Dalglish reeled away, suffering terrible symptoms of stress, in 1991 – back straight away. But essentially there is a yearning for an icon.
Remind you of any other club? It would do if they yearned for Kevin Keegan rather than Dalglish. Sections of Liverpool’s support have come to resemble their Newcastle equivalents in times of disappointment: angry rather than sad, but still bereft. And now ready to welcome a messiah. Newcastle fans, weighing the respective merits of Keegan and Dalglish at St James’ Park, might even joke that they’ve picked the wrong one.”
I also can’t stand fans that state that their club “deserves” success and the recent turn in their fortunes, that they’re entitled to some silverware because of the years of under-achievement that they’ve had to endure (i.e. City fans), despite the fact that there may be a plethora of other “deserving” clubs out there (the criteria for “deserving” and “entitled” not having been defined of course). Well this is another unsavoury attitude that Liverpool fans have decided to adopt, lambasting Hodgson for not achieving the success that Liverpool, being such a massive and historic club, are “entitled” to. But no club, anywhere, is “entitled” to success. Yes, some clubs should be achieving more based on the resources they have available (City’s oil-money), but nobody is “entitled” to success, no matter how rich their history and traditions.
There is another great piece on the above issues by Lawrence Gray-Hodson at Three And In (link here) which I’d recommend reading in its entirety, but a relevant extract is shown below:
“It’s been obvious since day one that Liverpool fans don’t like Roy Hodgson. To them he’s like a step-parent who has taken the place of their real dad. Yet they ignore the fact that their real dad was a rioja swilling buffoon who spent £20m on Robbie Keane. If Benitez was their real dad and Liverpool was their mum then their dad used to get into bad moods and slap her about the face a bit.
Yet when it’s your real dad you’re willing to overlook his flaws. Forget that he alienated your best midfielder so he could bring in the honest but limited Gareth Barry. Forget that when the title was there to be had his team conceded four goals to a Russian who barely moves from a 20 yard patch the entire game.
Along came Roy and he is kindly. He tried to win the Liverpool fans over by bringing them a present. “Hi”, he said, “I’m not trying to take the place of your real dad but here’s a Joe Cole to play with”. Granted, it’s a bit like getting second hand lego that has been chewed by a dog but at least the thought was there. From the start the famous Liverpool support turned their nose up at him.
That’s not support. That’s the opposite of support. You know the Scousers, so happy to wallow in misery that I bet many of them are enjoying this season much more than title winning ones because it means they always have something to cry about. I fully expect a group of celebrities to make a video about how Hodgson is killing their club. First it was Hicks and Gillett, then Hodgson, whoever comes next will be to blame I imagine.”
Now Liverpool aren’t the only ones guilty of having such fickle, deluded, short-sighted fans, lots of clubs are and it’s an increasingly modern phenomena, especially for the bigger clubs with larger fan-bases. United had the “Sack Fergie, Sell Giggs” brigade of the early 2000’s, but luckily the mini trophy drought at that time managed to filter out a few of the less committed fans. And judging by the attendance of roughly 35,000 for Liverpool the other night in a stadium with a capacity of approximately 45,000, despite the game being on a bank holiday and not being televised, I think that we may be seeing the true extent of the numbers of the Anfield faithful, and the contemporary identity of what is the modern Liverpool fan.